The perks of taking a gap year and taking care of yourself

/ Joanna Ward

I probably should have taken a year off of school before I got this far.

I probably should have made sure I was completely confident about school and my life before enrolling in something that would take so much out of me, mentally and physically.

I probably shouldn’t have waited until the end of my third year to realize, while I love the path I see myself going down, I’m not doing it the right way.

At the same time, I don’t regret a single minute of it. I don’t regret coming to school and taking the courses I’ve taken and I don’t regret any of my university experience thus far.

In the last three years, I have grown so much and discovered a lot more about myself than ever before. On the other hand, I know I’ve been held back from other opportunities that I wish I had a chance to work on before starting at Brock.

Taking a gap year shouldn’t be something that is seen as such a big deal, and it shouldn’t warrant opinions of disapproval and disappointment. If anything, you should get a pat on the back and be supported as you make your way through your life, figuring things out for yourself.

It’s important to understand what you want and how you want to go about getting it. Ultimately, it’s important to take care of yourself before anyone else. Figuring out how to do both is really hard sometimes, but that’s what being an adult is all about. You have to look out for yourself and your well being, while still managing to be a functioning human being and it can be draining.

I’m deciding to be a little bit selfish, though. This is going to be my year.

I’ve had the extreme privilege to be supported by my parents throughout my schooling thus far without having much to worry about. I will always be grateful for that. It’s my job to show up, get the grades and make them proud. All of that would be a lot easier if I could throw all my attention into school and not put their time, effort and money to waste.

That being said, taking a year off opens up so many doors to explore new things and pursue things I felt had to be pushed to the backburner while I focused on my education. While it might mean it will take some extra time to complete my program, my mental health, overall well being, and my passions are so much more important to me.

A Globe and Mail article from November, stated that “motivations to delay postsecondary education for a year range from financial need to acquiring experience.”

I wholeheartedly agree. I plan on taking the metaphorical ‘bull by the horns’ in this year and give it my all. I’ll work, I’ll explore, and I’ll continue to learn. Just because it’s not going to be in an academic environment doesn’t mean anything. I just want to strive to be the best version of me.

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